Ironman Build-Peak-Race Period 18-20 hrs/wk (Advanced) Power or HR.

Average Weekly Training Hours 15:46
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 15:46
Training Load By Week

This 12-week Ironman Build-Peak-Race period training plan was designed by Joe Friel using the principles described in his books--The Triathletes Training Bible and Going Long. It works well for both over-50 and under-50 athletes. It should be started exactly 12 weeks before your Ironman race week (race week is the 12th week of the plan). Following this plan will prepare you for your Ironman by including all of the elements used by Joe in training his advanced IM athletes. An advanced athlete is someone who has been in the sport for several years and has completed at least two Ironman races. Note that this is a very challenging training plan calling for workouts in most weeks of 18 to 20 hours (recovery breaks every third week and taper weeks prior to the race are considerably less). There are optional workouts included in some weeks to allow you to customize the plan to your capacity for training.
To start this plan you should have completed 2 or more Iron-distance races and have a goal of improving your personal best race time or finishing on the podium.
You may use either a heart rate monitor or power meter for bike workouts. Run workout intensities are mostly heart rate-based with occasional options calling for goal IM pace or effort. Swim workout intensities are based on T-times or perceived exertion. Your training zones should be established before starting this plan. (For detailed description of how to set your zones for heart rate, power or pace go to http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblog/2009/11/quick-guide-to-setting-zones.html.)
This plan is simple to follow and is written in every day language as you can see in the PREVIEW. Suggestions are made throughout to guide you in making training and race planning decisions.

Sample Day 1
0:30:00
Strength Maintenance.

Strength Maintenance: Warm-up 5-10 minutes. Then do 2 sets of Strength Maintenance (SM) weight lifting. First set is light (12 reps with 15 repetition-max "RM" load). Second set is heavy (3-6 reps with 6RM load). Cool down 5-10 minutes spinning on a stationary bike in easy gear or resistance at high rpm. This should be a very brief workout. For details turn to Chapter 13 in The Triathlete's Training Bible. Or go here: http://www.trainingbible.com/bkp-all/pdf/Triathlon_Strength_Program.pdf.

Sample Day 2
1:00:00
Down Ladder at T-Pace.

Down Ladder at T-Pace.
You may substitute a masters swim workout for this one.

Warm-Up: 
100 swim easy, 100 drill (your choice), 150 swim moderate, 50 drill.
Mainset:
400 at T-pace (5-10sec/100 slower than your Olympic-distance race pace).
50 swim very easy.
350 at T-pace.
50 swim very easy.
300 at T-pace.
50 swim very easy.
250 at T-pace.
50 swim very easy.
200 at T-pace.
50 swim very easy.
150 at T-pace.
50 swim very easy.
Cool down:
100 swim easy.
50 drill.
500 swim good form.
Total—3100

Sample Day 2
1:00:00
Hill Tempo.

Breakthrough Workout (BT): Hill tempo. Warm-up about 20 minutes elevating heart rate to zone 2. Then on a long, moderate uphill (about 2-4%) run 20 minutes steady at heart rate zone 3. Relax. Listen to breathing. Good form! This may be done on a treadmill.

Sample Day 3
1:00:00
Easy Ride.

Easy Ride.
Ride in heart rate or power zones 1-2, mostly zone 1 if heart rate. Flat to gently rolling course. Low effort--light on pedals. Comfortably high cadence.

Sample Day 3
0:45:00
Easy Run.

Easy Run.
Run with heart rate in zone 1 on a flat, soft surface such as grass, dirt, or treadmill. VERY easy. Embarrassingly slow. Best done alone. If fatigued omit this workout.

Sample Day 3
0:45:00
Continuous Swim.

Continuous Swim (optional workout).
You may substitute a masters swim workout for this one.

Warn-up: 
10 minutes alternating slow-fast pacing. Play with different strokes while warming up.
Mainset: 
30-minute steady swim. Swim without stopping. Focus on form. That's more important than pace right now,
Cool down: 
5 minutes very easy. Choice of strokes or floating on your back and sculling (how to do sculling drills video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm2SbWU6Raw).
Total: 45 minutes

Sample Day 4
1:00:00
Tempo Ride (Brick).

Tempo Ride (Brick).
BT: On road or indoor trainer. Warm-up about 30 minutes by gradually raising heart rate to zone 3. Then ride 30 minutes non-stop in low heart rate zone 3 or high power zone 3 on a mostly flat course. Smooth pedaling. Aero position.

Joe Friel
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Joe Friel Coaching

An endurance coach since 1980, Joe Friel has worked with triathletes and cyclists from all over the world helping them achieve their race goals. He also trains coaches around the world and has consulted with national federations and national Olympic team coaches. Coach Friel offers personal camps, and seminars for clubs and teams, and consults with professional athletes. He is currently not accepting one-on-one coaching clients.